A man conned an elderly Maryland woman out of almost $2 million. The woman thought she could trust the attorney to set up her estate, but prosecutors say he took the money for himself.
Helen Nutt worked hard as a church secretary and saved her money, building a substantial nest egg.
“She died at 91 but she invested well and she saved,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said. “She made her money the old fashioned way: She worked and saved.”
Prosecutors say she was swindled out of her hard-earned money by Jonathan Robbins, an attorney and CPA. They say she asked him for help in setting up trust and estate documents.
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“But he ultimately put himself in control of everything with no oversight, with no second eyes, no third eyes, no check, no balance,” McCarthy said.
A Montgomery County jury found Robbins guilty on several financial crimes charges, prosecutors said. He took $1.8 million over the course of several years.
An oversight agency and financial institutions noticed something was wrong and blew the whistle.
“Wrote checks to himself, endorsed checks himself, and then deposited them in his own account,” McCarthy said. “Sometimes it was in smaller amounts — twenty, thirty thousand. I think the largest check is somewhere around $300,000.”
Nutt died before the trial happened at the age of 91, prosecutors said. They presented some 300 exhibits, including photos showing the modest home Robbins lived in before he met Nutt and the 6,600-square-foot home he moved into.
“He was surviving, living in a townhouse,” McCarthy said. “Well, when this trial took place — and you’re going to see pictures of it — he moved into a mansion on Miss Nutt’s dime, and he was living a high life.”
Prosecutors described Nutt as the perfect victim: She was trusting, had lots of money, had no family close by to watch out for her and suffered from dementia.
After Robbins was convicted, the judge revoked his bond. He’s in jail awaiting his September sentencing. He faces up to 45 years in prison.
Prosecutors say the lesson is to not put trust in one person to handle your financial affairs and check on your older loved ones to make sure everything is OK.
News4 reached out to the public defender, who said he needs to talk to Robbins before commenting.